Former President Obama is hosting a 60th birthday bash for himself and hundreds of guests on the swanky island of Martha’s Vineyard this weekend amid growing concerns about the new spread of COVID.
“While President Biden is unable to attend this weekend, he looks forward to catching up with former President Obama soon and properly welcoming him into the over-sixty club,” said a White House spokesperson.
Among the expected guests are Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and Steven Speilberg. When Obama turned 50 he had a similar star-studded bash at the White House. Guests included Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley, and Grant Hill.
Obama recently spent $11.75 million to buy a waterfront, seven-bedroom, almost 7,000-foot mansion on the island.
“If you’re talking about a small party like I might have at my house for six or eight people who are all fully vaccinated, I do not believe, at this point, we need to put masks on to be next to each other,” Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
While discussing generic masking protocols, not the Obama party itself, he added: “But if there were 100 people, and, of course, how are you really going to be sure about people’s vaccination status?”
A person with knowledge of the Obama party protocols said all guests will have to be COVID-tested, although they didn’t say when, where or what proof they would have to offer.
Among the safety measures said to be put in place: The party will be held outdoors, all guests are asked to be vaccinated and invitees have been told there will be a COVID-coordinator to check guests’ test results.
Martha’s Vineyard does not qualify as an area of “substantially-high” risk, which was the target of the CDC recommendations.
Obama officials did not say whether guests will be required to wear masks.
From The New York Post:
“His birthday party is insane,” the caterer said. “His bash is a nightmare to pull off this time of year on the tiny island — especially due to the lack of labor because of the coronavirus. What is he thinking?”
The mass arrival of the ex-president’s pals is already the talk of the town for Uber drivers, hotel maids and check-in clerks, Axios said.
All guests will be asked to be vaccinated and there will also be a “COVID coordinator” at the glitzy event to ensure safety protocols are followed, the outlet said.